Directions: After you turn in your timed write, read the following handout on theme. On the back of the handout, read the following themes and explain why they are a “no.”
•Theme is the message that the reader learns from the text. Theme is not what the story is about. It is what the story TEACHES us.
•Bad example: In the text, character Jim Rainsford figures out how to overcome his enemy.
•Good example: Success depends on persistence and intelligence.
•Theme is a complete sentence, not just one word!
•Bad example: Fate
•Good example: Fate or destiny is sometimes used as an excuse to avoid the responsibility of one’s own choices.
•To come up with a theme, think about the subject (intangible) of a story (pride, lust, love) and then ask yourself what does the story teach us about that subject?
There are 3 major rules for theme…
•Rule #1: NO CLICHES!
•Any overused saying is not an option for your theme statement. Think originally!
•What goes around comes around.
•Treat others as you would want to be treated.
•Don’t judge a book by its cover.
•Rule #2-NO COMMANDS! (No second person in theme statements whatsever.)
•If your theme is a command, it has an implied “you.”
•Never be greedy.
•Don’t take life for granted.
•Always appreciate what you have.
•Rule #3—NO CONFUSION!
•Do not be vague. Make it specific and leave out words with the word “thing.”
•Honesty is everything. (What is everything?)
•Selfishness can make people do something they don’t want to do. (What wouldn’t they want to do?)
•Jealousy can lead to a bigger problem. (What problem?)
•Life is tough. (What about life is tough?)
*Flip this sheet over and complete the exercise on the back.
Explain why each theme is not acceptable.
1) NO: One’s destiny cannot be avoided.
2) NO: Love conquers all.
3) NO: Romeo and Juliet are punished not because of the flaws in their personalities but because fate is against them.
4) NO: Love is almost a disease that makes a person physically ill and that makes you behave in a foolish way.
5) NO: Don’t assume that fate is an excuse to avoid taking responsibilty.
6) Without looking, list one of the rules about a theme statement.
*This handout is not homework if you do not finish.